Save It for the Cover Letter

We can all agree on the major “don’ts” when it comes to personal data on a resume: date of birth, nationality, spouse name, child name(s), physical characteristics, irrelevant hobbies or interests, etc. On the other hand, there are times when a piece of personal information is beneficial (or necessary) to share, but doesn’t fit well into the concise, “results-only” tone the resume should maintain. Below are a few of those categories along with examples of how to address them in a cover letter.

Travel/relocation preferences or plans

  • I would be more than willing to travel or relocate for the right opportunity.
  • I will be relocating to Virginia by the end of the month and am currently seeking professional opportunities in the Fairfax area.

Salary requirements

Note: it is best not to include this unless requested by the employer as part of the application process.

  • Please note that my salary requirements are in the $30K–$40K range.
  • I understand that average salaries for this type of position currently range from $55K–$60K, and I would anticipate a comparable salary from your organization.

Special circumstances

  • I have submitted my 2-week notice to ABC Company and my last day of employment will be February 15, 2014.
  • I will be on assignment for my current employer in Texas for the next few weeks, however can readily travel back to New Mexico for an interview with a few days’ notice.
  • Over the past year, I took time away from the kitchen to travel worldwide and immerse myself in various cultures and cooking styles. I now look forward to bringing these new insights as well as my extensive knowledge of American cuisine to your restaurant.
  • In 2009, I took a hiatus from my professional career to raise my family. I completed numerous online courses in marketing during this time to keep my skills up to date and am now eager to re-enter the workforce.
  • I would be more than willing to start with a contract, part-time, or volunteer role within your organization.

Specific reasons for making a career change or leaving a recent role

  • Though highly successful in construction, I discovered that my true passion lies in social work after volunteering for several years with the Rescue Mission.
  • Last year, I witnessed an EMT save my close friend’s life during a medical emergency. I was inspired by the care she received and have since enrolled and graduated from an EMT training program to begin my new career in this field.
  • My position at ABC Company was eliminated following their acquisition by XYZ Corp. last week and I am eager to continue my career in advertising.

When you come across a piece of information that seems “iffy” to include on your resume, consider working it into your cover letter where the writing style is more personal and the structure more flexible. As always, keep your audience in mind when deciding what to include in either document – if it will not help you land your next role or answer a critical question, leave it out.


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